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'Tea party' a 'double-edged sword' for GOP, top Democrat says

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says Republicans have a more engaged voting base, thanks to the 'tea parties.' But the GOP's shift to the right could hurt it in the general election, he says.

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Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, speaks at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast Monday.

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While the "tea party" movement is helping fuel Republican voter enthusiasm, it is a “double-edged sword” for the GOP in centrist congressional districts, according to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters on Monday, Congressman Van Hollen acknowledged that, “Right now, you have on the Republican side a lot of people who are running out the door to vote – especially on the tea-party wing of the Republican Party. [There is] a lot of energy there.”

But Van Hollen argued that some of that energy and enthusiasm could wane by November’s congressional elections. “To the extent the tea party movement is most represented publicly by the farthest right wing component of the tea party movement, that does have the effect of making the centrist voters more nervous,” he said.

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